changing of the seasons

It's the school holidays here, and for now, the sun is shining. Kind of. We are expecting heavy rains again in the next few days, so while the sun is shining I have been trying to catch up with washing and opening up the yurt to the warm sun to chase away the damp that seems to seep into every nook and cranny. 

With the changing of the seasons, we have a few chores to tackle. I need to go through everyone's wardrobes and take stock of what clothing they have and what they might need for the coming winter. I also need to deep clean the boys' loft with them. If I were to do these myself, they wouldn't be long jobs. But instead, I get the boys to lead and I come after them and help if needed. This means the jobs take forever and require a certain level of patience. 

There is also Grant's volunteer giant pumpkin overtaking my little garden near the door. I'm pretty sure it's not the right season for it but Grant wanted to let it grow out of curiosity and the thing has become an absolute monster. He has since become oddly attached to his feral pumpkin plant, and invested in seeing if the pumpkins will ever mature. He gives me regular updates on how many pumpkins it's attempting to sprout and how much more of the garden it's taking over. I, in turn, have been turning a blind eye to it strangling out my little garden because seeing his amusement at something so simple has in turn been deeply entertaining. But it's attempting to set fruit in my crape myrtle and squashing it, so today it will meet my snips. 

All of this is from growth came from one wild plant, probrably dropped from the compost bin. 

Everything is a bit beaten after the endless rain and removing the pumpkin vine which was strangling everything out. I have planted a few punnets of greens and flowers to hopefully fill in the gaps again. The pumpkin has been left to do it’s thing on the other side of the fence. I only removed it from my garden bed. 

We are thankfully over covid now and fully recovered, though the tiredness lingered on for quite a while. 
I'm also happy to share that Grant is very happy with his new job as a farm manager for a local dairy. He doesn't help with milking as onsite staff do that. Instead, he looks after machinery, fencing, pasture, feeding and rotating the cows, calving, overseeing the staff and other general farm duties. His boss is a lovely fellow who cares about his employees, pays a fair wage and Grant gets to do what he loves. It is the happiest I have seen him in a long time. 

We feel like we can begin to breathe again. There are desperately needed car parts ordered and on the way,  and we have been able to purchase some timber needed for the bug shed roof which will bring a much-needed income stream when finished. We are cutting it fine to get the woodies in the new, heated bug shed before winter really hits but all we can do is our best. We also have an improved payment plan for school fees. All in all, I'm beginning to feel a renewed sense of hope about life here, which I confess had begun to disappear in recent times. 

Easter was a simple affair. Grant worked good the Friday and Monday public holidays because farming doesn't stop, but he was happy to have Saturday and Sunday off with us. We attended church on Sunday, and I was incredibly proud of Will who was invited to do one of the easter readings on stage. At 14 he is becoming such a lovely young man. There were hot cross buns for breakfast, an Easter egg hunt and my parents, as they do every year, sent money for winter PJs for each of the children which they were all thrilled with. There was a lovely chicken roast dinner on Sunday night and there's been an excessive daily consumption of chocolate since. 

Will doing one of the Easter readings. 

Opening their PJs from grandparents. 

As usual, I turned the bones into broth, left them to simmer on the Aga for 12hrs and made a big batch of chicken soup. I have always made a very traditional western chicken soup if you will. Sauteed onion, celery, carrot and garlic, broth, other assorted soup veggies, thyme, parsley and risoni or another type of soup pasta. But since becoming coeliac, I'm yet to find a gluten-free soup noodle that fills the same flavour/consistency. 

The last couple of times I have made chicken soup, I have been channelling the Chinese chicken and corn soup I loved to get when we occasionally ate out in Chinese restaurants when I was a child. It's a simple but delicious recipe, seasoned with gluten-free soy, sesame oil, fish sauce and a dash of oyster sauce. Thickened with cornflour and egg whites slowly poured in at the end. I think it might become my go-to chicken soup over the coming winter. I often do a simple clear Asian soup with broth, noodles, veggies and maybe chicken or whatever meat I have on hand, with coriander, chilli and spring onion sprinkled on top, but this Chinese chicken and corn soup somehow feels heartier. It's an absolute hit with the children, especially Henry as he loves corn. However, I think I need to purchase some Asian ceramic spoons I loved to use as a child, just to make it that little bit more special. We don't get to eat out often as not only is it expensive to feed a family our size, my strict gluten-free requirements can make it a little tricky. I'd really like to get better at creating these kinds of memorable traditions at home. 

This is the link for the recipe I used as a base for the soup. It's a simple recipe that easily lends itself to tweaking. If you're wondering what to do with the spare egg yolks, I make a simple egg custard for dessert while the soup is simmering.  This is the recipe for the Chinese corn soup with chicken. 

I hope you have had a lovely easter dear readers, and that this post finds you well. 
Much love, 

I'm here because of you

On Sunday I shared a post that was flatter and more vulnerable than usual. Once I wrote it, I debated if I should hit publish. There is a sense of shame in talking about financial difficulty. But the reality is that due to global events, the last couple of years have not been normal. The ripple effect from that reaches far and wide. Not just for my family, but for many, many people. I hesitated about whether I should put up a PayPal link for those that wanted to contribute financially to the writing I do here. I know there are those doing it harder in the world, and there are certainly those who write more eloquently then me. 

This morning Henry made me a gorgeous rainbow heart. He melts my heart with his kindness and thoughtfulness. 

But, I decided to bite the bullet after encouragement from Grant and a dear friend to share the hard things. The things I hadn't quite finished processing, and I'm glad I did. 

My pms were inundated with lovely messages from you encouraging our family not only financially, but also by sharing your own stories of how you had found encouragement for your own life here. My heart is overflowing with warmth, care and appreciation for all of you. The truth is, if it wasn't for you I wouldn't still be writing. Your stories matter to me.  

Today I woke with a renewed sense of purpose here on the farm and on the blog. I was astounded by people's generosity. Your response has been far more than I ever considered it would be. When I put my PayPal link up I thought a few readers might want to send a few dollars, just like you might pay for a newspaper or a magazine. Over time I thought those small contributions could help with the occasional running costs that pop up with things with YouTube/blogging etc. Instead, our family has been blessed with overwhelming generosity. This community has brought tears to my eyes with its kindness, both big and small. 

We are not 100% here with covid in our house so this post is brief. I just wanted to say thank you everyone. Thank you for caring and thankyou for sharing your stories. I am more grateful for you all then you could ever know. 

Sending much love to you all,

A tiring couple of weeks

It's been a tiring couple of weeks here. 


We have been plagued by sickness, Elsie struggled to get rid of a niggling virus and now Will has tested positive for COVID which throws us all into isolation for goodness knows how long until the virus works its way through our big family. Fortunately, Will remains quite well in himself. I hope and pray that continues for us all.  

We have also been on the receiving end of unrelenting rain. I've lost count of how many times we have either been rained in on the farm or bogged this wet season. The little boys have missed more school than ideal, due to my car not being able to get up one of the particularly slippery hills safely or cross flooded creeks.  The ongoing access issues since last year's floods have become increasingly problematic and stressful. The track was badly eroded during last year's floods, which created gaping washouts 6ft deep. It was repaired, but this year's heavy rains have continued to damage it on a regular basis.   

Poor feverish Elsie, though one is never too sick to wear a skirt. Elsie is obsessed with skirts and dresses. 

I'd be lying if I were to say the constant rain wasn't getting all of us down. The goats hate the rain, we have put them in a thick patch of bush with a big tarp strung up for extra shelter, but the poor things have been pretty miserable. We are all fed up. 

When it's raining like this, the boys don't want to spend a lot of time outside. They do love sliding in the mud, but there is only so much mud play one can do. It means we have been spending a lot of time inside, which is tricky in a tiny house with a two-year-old who wants to be involved in all the things. Elsie is not a kid that is content just to observe, she has to be touching everything which makes activities like board games hard. Currently, the boys are working on creative writing projects, while Elsie takes a nap. Building a marble run is next on the agenda. That counts as science, right?  

Marble run fun

In more positive news, Grant started a jew job this week. Though he enjoyed his last job, it was very poorly paid. They didn't take into account his previous BA Ag or business management experience and with the rising cost of living, our already tight budget quickly slid into deficit. The minimum wage is a real problem in Australia and the concept of the working poor is becoming increasingly common in this day and age. The cost of living in Australia is high and rising fuel prices are sending prices for essential goods and services rocketing. Many industry wages are way behind inflation and token tax cuts do little to offer real help for those battling along. After three years of putting up with crappy pay in various jobs, Grant is finally earning a fair wage for his skill level, while doing work he really enjoys. He is thrilled to be back farming full time, and I am thrilled to see him being valued and happy.  

I hope this is the beginning of a fresh start for us. Because I am bone-weary from battling to make ends meet. 

The extra money is badly needed. We have both the cars needing repairs, school fees to pay, the bug shed to finish, a generator to repair, wet weather gear for the kids, shelving to finish in the loft to give the boys much-needed space, a bathroom to finish, lighting in the yurt to improve, painting the downstairs bedroom ceilings, repairs to the satellite unit for the TV which broke and fixing/replacing various other tools which would make life significantly easier, like the whipper snipper. Many of these jobs only cost a couple of hundred dollars, but the truth is that we simply haven't had any money spare. 

Though his new job doesn't help currently, as we are in isolation for goodness knows how long. *sigh* Though I know we are luckier than so many and I’m deeply thankful for that. 

To combat the feelings of 'blah' that are currently invading our lives, we have been trying to go for walks when there is a break in the weather, visit the animals, watch fun movies, read lovely books, cook tasty nourishing meals and create pockets of the day we can all look forward too. GF Chocolate biscuits also help.

A wonderful and thoughtful gift from Katie @loveroflimes on Instagram

Meals we have been particularly enjoying are baked chicken drumsticks with garlic and herbs from the garden, buttery/chicken broth rice and big salads, nachos with fermented salsa, sour cream and guacamole and meatballs with a tangy creamy sauce, homemade oven chips and a big crunchy salad. Not fancy I know, but very budget-friendly, simple and tasty. Even the simplest meal can be delicious if you spend a little time and consideration building flavour throughout the cooking process.

Another thing that cheered me up this past fortnight was a letter and beautiful and generous bundle of seeds from a friend on IG and also some beautiful hand knitted beanies for Elsie and me from my dear friend Nic in SA. I'm always astounded by the generosity of the simple living community. When we read so much negativity about social media, we can forget about the wonderful communities which can be created and the connections built across the miles with like-minded people.      

Unfortunately, the heavy rain has caused a lot of diseases and rot in a bunch of my veggies, so I have been clearing the diseased plants and making way for Autumn crops. I'd really love a safe little protected greenhouse/propagation area away from boisterous dogs and curious toddlers, but I'm yet to solve that issue in a budget-friendly manner. It's on the list. But these seeds will be added to my collection and hopefully this week I can sit down and pull out some to prepare for the growing season and rig up some kind of ad hoc propagation area.

I'm sorry today's post is a little flatter than usual, but with the aim of keeping it real, I decided to share anyway. Life here is not all sunshine and encouraging words though I do try to always find them. I am quite simply a little tired and worn out. It's been near impossible to fill my cup in tiny pockets of time between juggling unwell children, heavy financial burdens and managing rural, off-grid family life amidst unrelenting record-breaking rains.  

But what I do know is this. The sun will shine again, money comes and goes, and the seasons will turn. Just like they always have. I hope this finds you well dear readers. 

Much love,

PS. I hesitated over this decision, but you might notice a new PayPal button in my sidebar. If you have enjoyed reading along our journey over the years and ever wanted to support us financially in a small way, this is an option for you. Please know there is no obligation, expectation or pressure to support us financially. The fact that you visit us here on our little corner of the web, comment and continue to come back means the world to us. Nothing will change, I will continue to share here as often as I can, on Instagram, Facebook and the occasional YouTube video as time allows. You can Support us via PayPal by clicking the link. 





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